Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the Sonic Hacking Contest!

Last year we ran the Contest Week around the start of December and we found that this has noticeably this resulted in a lower entry and stream turnout. Therefore, we are returning to hosting the contest at an earlier time this year.

Historically the reason the contest dates kept on being moved every year was usually a result of site development delays (Cinossu Note: Sorry!), however some other circumstances also occurred. In 2018 we moved it due to the release of Sonic Forces. In 2019 we delayed it due to Thanksgiving. This year, however, we are returning the contest week to late October.

Deadlines & Judging

In 2019 we found a number of Expo entries slipped the net and nearly ended up in Contest Week despite failing the Quality Control criteria. This was mainly due to negligence of some Judges to monitor Expo entries as they were being submitted.

To compensate, we added an additional week between the Expo deadline and the Contest Week, to ensure entries could be filtered out. We do not wish to give bad quality entries exposure, particularly those we do not feel would bring anything positive to the end user.

Regarding game compatibility, as an improvement to previous years, a spreadsheet has been made to track which games individual Judges can play. This will allow us to ensure that we can better tackle niche games (should any be submitted), better than in prior contests.

The Trophy System

After looking at the turnout last year we think that the new trophy system introduced worked pretty well, just some categories did not simply have enough entries to take full advantage of them. Overall, however, we were happy with the outcome. We will continue using this format, but tighten up some minor loose ends that were discovered.

Entries will be graded top 3 overall in the respective common submission formats/categories - "Retro", "3D" and "2D PC". Various "general" categories, subject to different interpretation based on submission format such as "best visually appealing" or "best sounding" will also be split in the following manner.

Last of all, special trophies such as "most improved since last year" or "most WTF" (The Polygon Jim Trophy) will also be split this year. Also, we have reinstated a few trophies that were removed last year.

We understand that there is a possibility that some of the trophies under the format may end up "unnecessary" in the long run with no real "winners", due to what may or may not be submitted. For such trophies, the "Null Vote Rule" will be applied, with "Null Vote" being a voting option if no entry either satisfies the trophy description or does not meet a given quality standard in the given trophy's department. If "Null Vote" becomes the top vote for a category, no trophy is awarded.


A recurring issue every contest year is that we very often receive requests from users to make available an archive of all of the entries for a given contest. While at the time of a contest it is possible, but with the passage of time this becomes very difficult as many entries are often hosted off-site.

The good news is, from this year on, we now have more than enough bandwidth capacity to allow all entries to be directly uploaded.

As a direct result, we no longer allow for off-site links for entries. All entries must have their downloads uploaded directly to the server.

While this may seem inconvenient to some, it allows us to address potential exploitable issues with off-site links, such as their contents being updates after deadlines, and also being able to keep a hold of said content for The Vault.

Contest Staff

The Judges

This year's judge set consists of AURORA☆FIELDS, Cinossu, CodenameGamma, Dario FF, Melpontro, OrdosAlpha, Sewer56, SSF1991 (Donnie), Spanner and Twilightzoney.

Judges & Contest Submissions

Judges will be allowed to submit their own hacks, however they will not be allowed to judge their own entries (conflict of interest). This includes submissions that they have been involved with, such as team submissions.

After the main contest finishes, the Judges will provide more detailed evaluations of the entries to give their opinion, thoughts, and advice they feel is deserved.


This judge list is not final and additional judges may be recruited to replace former judges who have left the contest due to retiring or other reasons. Do not ask to be a judge as that just rules you out. If we think you're up to the job, we'll talk to you.

Not all judges can judge all games as they may not have have the capability to do so. For example: 360/PS3 based sonic hacks requiring either powerful PC for emulation or hacked console. If you submit a non 8/16-bit entry please have this in mind. The majority of judges however are capable of playing PC-based game entries.

Please note that the final decisions are subject to the Judging Team and may not reflect your own opinion. If one hack wins a whole load of trophies that is what the judges thought should win. Judges may change at any time due to unavailability or other reasons.


This year we're doing trophies a bit differently. First of all, we're scrapping the names for now to make things easier to understand. Secondly, we're categorising them differently to before. First, we have three main categories that entries can fall under:

• Retro
For any and all retro console hack entries.

• 3D
For all entries based on the 3D Sonic games outright.

• 2D PC
For those entries based on the 2D ports, rereleases, and remasters on PC, as well as Mania.

All three of these categories will have a Top 3 result and individual trophies of the following:

• Best Visual
• Best Audio
• Best Technical
• Best Level Design
• Best Voted by Media Panel
• Most Entertaining
• Most WTF (Polygon Jim)
• Best Team Entry
• Best Multiplayer Entry
• Best Fresh Concept Using Existing Concepts As A Backbone
• Most Potential
• Most Improved Since Last Year

Of course we also have the overall Top 3 that can again be attributed to any entry from any category.

And what of community trophies, you ask? Well, you're all in luck this year. Apart from the obvious exception of "Best Voted by Media Panel", the community get to vote on each and all of these categories and trophies as well.


CONTEST SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: End of Monday 21st September

CONTEST UPDATES DEADLINE: End of Monday 28th September

EXPO SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: End of Monday 5th October

CONTEST WEEK FROM: Monday 26th October to Sunday 1st November